The subject matter of the 150,000 € contract is a study to provide an overview of existing demonstrators, their Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and technical parameters that are relevant for integration on ships.
The EDA selected in August 2019 the winning industry team consisting of European missile specialist MBDA (with its local officies list as individual businesses: France, Deutschland, Italy, UK), Italian companies CETENA and Leonardo, French companies CILAS and Naval group and TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research.
Identity and composition of the other team was not disclosed but was likely composed of Rheinmetall who has been quite active in laser weapons lately.
MBDA is also actively working on the technology:
- MBDA UK alongside its partners (including Leonardo) is working on the DRAGONFIRE. Also known as known as the Laser Directed Energy Weapon (LDEW) Capability Demonstrator Programme (CDP), testing of DRAGONFIRE was set to take place in the maritime and land domains in 2019.
- MBDA France opened a new laser testing facility in March this year. It is designed to test the effects of lasers on materials and to specify future laser weapons for military customers.
- MBDA Deutschland and Rheinmetall have agreed to collaborate in the high-energy laser effectors domain. The two companies intend to construct, integrate and test a laser demonstrator for the German Navy’s corvette K130.
Outside of Europe, the U.S. Navy is planning to install Lockheed Martin’s HELIOS laser weapon on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Preble by 2021. HELIOS stands for High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance. It combines three key capabilities: A high energy laser system, long range ISR capability and counter-UAS dazzler capability.
In addition, The Drive reported this month that USS Dewey got fitted with a new laser turret, likely the ODIN laser dazzler.